Tepco to put some Fukushima decommissioning work on hold during G-7 summit

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

The majority of decommissioning work at the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will be put on hold while the Group of Seven summit takes place in Shima, Mie Prefecture, on May 26 to 27, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Satoshi Togawa, a spokesman for Tepco, told The Japan Times on Friday that the planned suspension was a precaution to reduce “risks” that could disturb the meeting of leaders from the seven major advanced nations.

Such risks could include unexpected leaks of contaminated water from tanks or airborne radioactive material monitoring alarms being triggered, Togawa said.

Tepco will continue other essential operations, such as injecting water to keep melted nuclear fuel cool and processing contaminated water, Togawa said.

The spokesman said the suspension was not designed to reduce the risk of terrorism.

“We have made the decision without any request from the government,” he said.

A 2011 massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami knocked out critical cooling functions for three of six reactors at the plant, triggering a triple meltdown.

The decommissioning effort, which involves some 7,000 workers, is expected to take more than 40 years.